Small Business Swagger


Corporate Culture. That phrase just sounds “corporate-y” doesn’t it? Kind of opposite the funeral industry and its close nit work environment.

We could substitute “Company Culture” and this refines the phrase, but still not enough to define the intimacy of a funeral home’s work setting.

So I went searching the Internet. For my Type A minus personality, finding the coined term for small business corporate culture quickly became a personal challenge. After spending much more time than I should scouring the Internet for this term, I came up empty handed. Can you believe that there is no term out there for small business “corporate culture”?

At the end of my search I landed at the word “swagger” on Urban Dictionary. Yes, Urban Dictionary (that just goes to show you the depths I went to search this). For those of you who don’t know, Urban Dictionary is a website full of slang terms such as oreolization (the realization that Oreo cookies are still in your kitchen) or eddiction (an addiction to electronic devices, characterized by the constant need to check your smartphone for the latest updates).

Small Business Swagger. That’s what we’ll phrase it – at least until someone comes up with something better. Yep, Urban Dictionary and the word swagger in a blog post related to the funeral industry… this industry is changing faster than you think.

As defined by Urban Dictionary, swagger is defined as how one presents him or herself to the world and is shown from how the person handles a situation.

Go ahead and ask – wouldn’t small business swagger refer to how your business is perceived from the outside meaning the community, your families and more? Well yes, it would… but guess where that all starts? Inside your business. The environment you create inside your small business is indicative of the external perception of your business.

So here are a couple of tips to foster your Small Business Swagger – tips for building corporate culture at your funeral home small business:

1. Hire for aptitude, but also attitude!

The funeral industry faces a large challenge in that the pool of talent is limited in trying to hire licensed funeral directors; and is also limited with regards to non-licensed personnel in trying to find those who are willing to overcome the “working at a funeral home” stigma. It is important to be picky. Attitude can make all the difference! You can train for skills, but not for attitude. Pick a person who will mesh and jive with the Small Business Swagger you are trying to create – if you don’t, you will likely find yourself going down the same path again, but this time with time and money.

2. Foster a collaborative and empowering environment.

Allow everyone from the high school kid washing cars to your licensed staff, to your part time door greeters, etc. have the opportunity to have input on your business. Not IF… but WHEN someone within your organization comes up with a good idea, empower that person to make it happen! Since it is their idea, they will have ownership and desire to make it a success! Set have a “lunch date” with your staff every other week to start this conversation.

3. Teach the team not to say the phrase “We offer great service”.

What does great service mean anyway?The word “service” is an umbrella term that can mean so many different things, not to mention means different things to different people.Use descriptive words to define what “service” means to your funeral home – and use these words while talking internally in the funeral home. Instead of saying “we provide great service”, start saying “we provide a comprehensive aftercare program” or “We infuse the service with personality to recreate the life lived”. Internally changing how you approach your own business, will change your internal culture and permeate through to your small business swagger.

4. Celebrations, camaraderie and community

Don’t be afraid to recognize and celebrate the achievements.Did you hit your monthly call volume goal early on the 22nd of the month? Celebrate! Bring in some pizza, write a thank you note to each employee, or anything special that acknowledges their hard work this month. Have a backyard BBQ and bonfire with your staff in the summer to build camaraderie or invite staff to participate in a volunteer event in the community!It’s important to allow your staff to create a balance between their professional social interactions, and their personal social interactions.

So why is building this culture significant to your funeral business? Why is Small Business Swagger so necessary? Your staff is your greatest asset. When a friend or a family member of your staff dies… guess who people turn to? Those who work at the funeral home. Your staff is the window to how your business operates.

Check out this impromptu celebration that the employees of Thacker Caskets had to simply celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

If your staff is constantly bashing your funeral home, their work environment, their bosses to their friends and family members, guess what? This raises doubt in the community’s eye about your funeral home.

If your staff is constantly raving about what a great place your business is to work, or the creative service they planned, or their ability to bring up an idea and implement the idea… this culture will lead to Small Business Swagger.

So, now do you want some Small Business Swagger?


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